When we get saved it’s not an act of pride. None of us thought that we were doing God a favor when we invited Jesus to live in our hearts and change our lives. No, it was an act of humility. We knew we needed a savior. We knew that our lives needed to change. If we didn’t know that, we never would have prayed the prayer in the first place.
However, we can fall into a trap as we move into our relationship with God. We begin to mature and the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) start to come about in our lives, and we see an amazing change. The trap is when we start to believe that we are the ones causing the change.
We can start to think that it’s our effort and our goodness that causes God’s blessing in our lives. We don’t do this on purpose. It’s human nature to want to take credit for all the good in our lives, but it isn’t the truth. James 1:17 says “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”
The real problem with this trap is that when our need of God’s grace is made apparent in the form of a financial crisis, a family problem, or a health issue we start to use our good works as a kind of “faith resume” in order to convince God to come through for us. We think that the longer our list of good works and Christian characteristics is, the greater our faith is.
We’ll come to Jesus showing Him all the things we think make us worthy of a miracle. We haven’t had a big fight with our spouse in months; we’ve consistently given in tithes and offerings; we pray and read our Bible every day. All of these things are great, but like our salvation, none of them happen by our own power. We are patient and loving with our spouse by the power of the Holy Spirit; we have a good job by the favor of God, and God reveals Himself to us in our times of prayer and reading because He loves us.
The ideas of self-made worthiness and self-manufactured faith are turned upside down by the stories of the Centurion in Matthew 8 and the Canaanite Woman in Matthew 15. These are the only two people that Jesus ever said had great faith. Neither of them ever considered using their good works as a means of currency to buy Jesus’ power.
In fact, both of them told Jesus that they were unworthy. The Centurion said that he wasn’t worthy for Jesus to come in his house, and the woman compared herself to a dog. Both of them received what they asked from Jesus though.
We don’t have to beg in order to get God’s attention. He hears us when we call out to Him. But when we are the source of our own faith, we’ll also have to be the source of our own miracle. We all know that’s something we can’t do. So, we come to God the same way we came to Him when we first got saved, in humility.
We know that when our eyes are set on Jesus, not our own works, we will receive what we ask.